I’m debating whether to keep a running blog account of my Mount and Blade game. Part of me thinks it would be interesting, and also a good way to cover what I like about the game without doing a ten page ‘review’ post. On the other hand, maybe it would make for some boring blogging? I mean in-game stories about MMOs (especially the “I’m not in Empire anymore” sandbox ones) are one thing; they are virtual worlds and unexpected and interesting stuff (hopefully) happens, but single-player games are different. Bet you won’t believe how my Dragon Age/Onyxia game ended! Whelps for you as well? Hmmm. M&B:W though is a single-player sandbox, so now what?
I’ll give it a shot, and if it’s not working out, I’ll stop. Feel free to suggest how to improve on this, or what you might like to read. With that said, on to the game.
I never finished my initial game (130 in-game days played), but I did experience enough that I feel like a second go-around will be different enough to make it worthwhile. I’m still clueless on how things work once you really rise in power, but I’m comfortable enough with the beginning and middle to feel like I’m not going to totally screw myself over. Plus with the few mods I’ve installed, I feel like a fresh start is the way to go.
I decided to start in Nord lands, since they are in the top-left corner of the map and are more protected than right-in-the-middle Swadia. I also like the idea of an army full of Viking-like melee units. I decided not to start as a noble, just to see what the journey is like to get to that status. Finally, I made a rough plan on which companions I want to keep around, and how exactly the various party-based skills are going to be spread around.
After completing the starting merchant quest line, I went around for a bit collecting recruits from the local villages. I also participated in a tournament, but with my character being so fresh, I only advanced a few rounds before getting knocked out. The real killer was archery, as I was doing next to no damage and that was after missing most of my shots.
The first quest I accepted was from King Ragnar himself, to collect taxes from his city. Once this was done, I was sitting on just over 7000 dinars. Instead of going back to the king, I used this seed money to buy up some local goods and went on a little trip around the world, visiting various cities to not only buy/sell for profit, but also to drop in to their taverns and find some companions. After seeing much of the world, I had collected some companions and made some good money, so it was time to return to Nord lands and go about becoming a lord.
Turning in the king’s taxes earned me a bit of favor with him, but not nearly enough for him to accept me as a vassal. Being a peasant, I was also not able to access the local feast to chat it up with the other lords. Since I was not officially aligned with a nation, my only ‘enemies’ were bandits, and unfortunately most of them traveled faster than my party, making it impossible for me to chase them down and fight them to earn some renown. Chicken/egg here.
I tried to help some of the local villages with their problems, but doing peasant work was not getting me very far in terms of status, and the few fights I was able to get into were very slowly getting me where I wanted to be. I cut down my party to just over 20 men, including companions, and this along with some training increased our travel speed enough to hunt down the local raiders. After a few tough fights, my little band was shaping up and we were finally earning some decent money, along with picking up some better equipment.
The tipping point came when a local lord, upset that the Nords were at war, wanted me to attack a Sarranid town or caravan, place evidence that it was the Nords, and hopefully start a war. While the journey was long, I finally tracked down a Sarranid trade caravan and helped myself to their goods (over the dead bodies of the guards). The local lord was very pleased with my success, and this combined with a tournament win earned me enough renown to become an official vassal of the Nords. Success!
As soon as I joined the kingdom and accepted rule over a poor little village, the Sarranids declared war on us. I wonder why…
The Marshal of the land sent out the call, and eager to prove my place, I hastily accepted. We traveled across Swadia to lay siege to a Sarranid castle, our army a solid 400+ men strong between seven lords. We made a quick stop at a village (to pillage it), and then it was on to the castle. After a few days of siege, the battle for the castle itself broke out, and while I went down on the final push (one too many arrows in my chest will do that), the siege was a success and our kingdom was one castle stronger.
After quickly resting up, I noticed one of our lords was locked in battle with two Sarranid lords, with things looking grim. I rushed over to help, but even with my band of 40ish men, the odds were still against us (120 vs 190). It also did not help that I was leading a band of peasant and not knights. Still, the first battle, while bloody, went our way. We had killed or wounded 150 of their men, at the cost of 90 of our own. Round two looked promising, as 30 vs 40 was much better than 120 vs 190. Or so I thought. Very quickly I noticed that their 40 were mostly highly-trained units, while we were left with pitchforks and rocks. It was a slaughter, and I was the last man to go down, taken off my horse by a very angry mob.
With that battle lost, and our other allies no-where in sight, I was captured and taken to a local castle, where after a few days I was able to escape. Unfortunately many of my companions are still sitting in the dungeon, and I’ve so far only been able to re-connect with two of them. Beaten, I returned home to Nord lands and began to rebuild my army.
As I did so, the Vaegirs, our neighbors to the west, declared war on us.